Detroit added Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker last offseason to anchor their defensive line, but only got a snippet of what the duo could do on the field together at full strength.
Ngata was dealing with a shoulder injury early on, and Walker's 2015 campaign lasted just three and a half games after he suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle Week 4 in Seattle.
After Ngata got past some nagging injuries that slowed him down early in the year, he played well the second half of the season. Pro Football Focus graded him among the top 15 interior defensive linemen in all of football over the second half of the season.
The Lions re-signed both Ngata and Walker this offseason in hopes of seeing them together on the field a lot more in 2016. What the pair brings to the table both individually and as a duo clearly fits into coordinator Teryl Austin's defense. It's just a matter of them staying healthy and being available.
"Obviously, those two guys are guys who can hit and run," head coach Jim Caldwell said of Ngata and Walker at the NFL League Meetings last month. "They're big people that are tough to move. They also give you push in pass rush."
Austin is fairly multiple in the fronts he throws at opponents both in-game and week-to-week. Detroit's also a very effective stunting defense. Detroit led the NFL last season by generating quarterback pressure 54 percent of the time they stunted, per Pro Football Focus statistics.
Walker played every position along New Orleans' front in 2014, and Ngata's roamed anywhere from the nose tackle to the three-technique in Detroit.
"We're very, very multiple in what we do and we try to adjust according to guys strengths to put them in the best position to be successful for us," Caldwell said.
"Those guys give (Austin) a chance to really do what we do best. It'll help us stop the run. When you can stop the run you have an opportunity, obviously, to put some pressure on teams on the outside with Ziggy (Ansah) and the pass rush. Those guys upfront give our linebackers a chance to run."
Along with Ngata and Walker, the Lions return Caraun Reid, Gabe Wright, Khyri Thornton and Kerry Hyder at the defensive tackle position. General manager Bob Quinn also went out and signed veteran Stefan Charles on the free-agent market.